The Biggest SEO Mistakes People Make and How to Avoid Them
Search engine optimization (SEO) is as vast as it is misunderstood. The topic has been the subject of much hand-wringing in recent months, as Google’s update to its algorithm has proven to be a double-edged sword for SEOs. On the one hand, now more than ever before, SEOs can focus their efforts on increasing ranking and reducing spammy links—but at the cost of alienating some of their most loyal and generous customers. On the other hand, changes to the algorithm have also stirred up concern about whether or not Google will stop indexing pages that make “activeegaonly” or “badger” search results. If you’re looking to take advantage of this moment in SEO history while they last, keep reading to discover what some of the biggest SEO mistakes people make are and how you can avoid them in your own campaigns.
1. Trying to Rank for “Top” Keywords Alone
You might have heard that you don’t need to rank for the most popular keywords in order to gain a boost in rankings. The theory goes that you should instead focus on ranking for the most searched keywords because they’re the most important, and Google will reward you for ranking for them.
Unfortunately, there’s a lot of misinformation out there about what types of keywords actually score a boost in rankings and what types don’t. The biggest SEO mistakes people make are using general terms like “best” and “top” in place of precise keywords. For example, if you’re ranking for best website builder, then mentioning insurancequotes.com in your content might work, but if you want to boost your ranking for affordable insurance quotes, you need to use the exact keyword “best affordable insurance.”
There are also inherent differences between general and specific keywords. For example, most people are going to search for “best website builders,” but this doesn’t mean that all people are looking for affordable insurance quotes. You’d have a much better chance of rank boosting if you focused on specific queries like “best affordable insurance for 25-35k with AWD” instead of “best websitebuilder.”
The bottom line? Don’t be too general with your keywords. If people are searching for “best website builders,” then your website probably isn’t the right one for them.
2. Focusing on Duplicate Content
Duplicate content is content that you have on multiple websites. While it might sound like a simple mistake to avoid, consider that Google’s algorithm is based on content and not on the number of links you have. Duplicate content is a huge problem for the SEO industry, but it’s also something that Google has been trying to crack down on for a while. In its most recent algorithm update, Google removed the “least-linked” and “most-linked” results for category pages and edit pages, making them equivalent to the most-linked page in that category. Before that, the algorithm penalized pages that used the same content multiple times, even if those pages were in different categories or listed different keywords. Now, it seems, Google is taking a much more subtle approach to detecting and removing duplicate content.
3. Not Anchoring In With a Traffic Report
Anchor text is the backbone of your content, making it the foundation for your website. Without it, your site will feel really unanchored and lead to pages that lack a compelling content reason. It’s important to anchor in with a traffic report to make sure nothing is blocking your path to a query, including other websites, links, and words in your own content. Here are a few things to watch out for:
· A bad traffic report can make or break an SEO campaign. It’s one of the most important factors a blogger can have when it comes to getting more traffic to their website. If people are going to your site instead of coming to yours, then you’ve got a problem. Fortunately, these problems are relatively easy to avoid.
· If you notice low-quality or duplicate content flooding your site, you can always switch to a stricter content-moderation system like the “nofollow” or “disallow” tags. But if you don’t see a need to go that far, you can always leave the tags out.
· You don’t need to be the most popular or highest-ranking website to benefit from low-quality links. You can rank for anything if you’ve got some quality links to deliver.
· There are a few ways to get a traffic report, like visit this URL, which you can access from your website. But if you don’t want to share your URL with the world, you can also get a quick scorecard that’ll show you who’s linking to your pages and what they’re doing.
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5. Overly Fancy Web Fonts
There are many people out there who don’t appreciate the importance of fancy fonts when it comes to SEO. But horsey Web fonts, while not recommended by Google, are still up to par with the algorithm as far as ranking goes. And, considering how important it is to rank for key phrases, you don’t need a custom font to do that. In fact, fonts are often overlooked when it comes to the SEO process, and when they are, results can be subpar.
6. Getting too ambitious with Backlinks
Backlinks are links that appear above your website’s logo, within your articles, and in your featured images. They are a sign of credibility and are an important factor in determining the ranking of your site. Backlinks are links that direct people to your site from other sites. You can get backlinks from sites you already rank for, or you can acquire new ones. There are many ways to acquire backlinks, including getting them from search engine forums and review sites, linking to your articles and pages from relevant social media posts, and even accepting backlinks from other bloggers. But acquiring too many backlinks can be a waste of time and energy. You want to make sure each and every one of your backlinks points back to your site, not to another website or page.
7. Using Google Alerts Plus
Google Alerts Plus is a service that sends you daily email alerts when a certain keyword or phrase appears in the top search results. You can set up Google Alerts to track keywords and send you emails when they’re mentioned in the top search results. Google has been testing this new feature and changing the algorithm to favor the more than 1% of users who have signed up for the service. That means if you use Google Alerts, you’ve got a better chance of getting the results you desire, even if your competitors don’t. This new feature could also help curb the spammy Amazon links and direct ads that have been flooding the top search results pages in recent months.
The truth about SEO is that it’s not just about ranking well for the most popular keywords. You need to give your content a reason to be found and make your visitors want to continue reading. That’s where keywords, anchor texts, and optimized content come into the picture. You need to make sure your content is easy to understand, Mobile-friendly, and easy to share.
Now, with these mistakes out of the way, you’ll be well on your way to increasing your SEO success.